Over exhuberance does not pay off!

September 23, 2009

The title of this post is something I should know, but bloody mindedness and impatience are the enemies of rational thought.

After having felt pretty good for a week or so I decided to walk to the local shops using only one crutch. The going was good on the way, but pretty ropey on the way back.   I’ve been paying for this little excursion ever since, scarily in the form of well known discomfort.  My hip has felt like it used to on a really bad day pre op; all sore and stiff with a few stabby pains thrown in for good luck. New pains I can deal with, they’re spose to be there, but old ones can take a hike; they haven’t though, not for the last 3 days.  To be honest I have been for little walks, done the hoovering, got the washing in and been for a swim, so I guess not resting up properly might have something to do with it!!

This did knock me a little and I even had a 5 minute strop involving tears and the immortal words “was it even ****** worth it” followed by “I’m getting the same ****** pains and I’ve one ****** leg longer than the other which is making my ****** back hurt”.   As you can see I was feeling somewhat sorry for myself and a little angry!! Incidentally insert whatever naughty word you fancy into the ****** bits, I think I may have used a variety!    My lovely man just listened to my mini outburst, let me shed my ‘woe is me’ tears and waited until I was calm enough to be rational again.

I’m back to my normal self and realise that as a wise hippy (Annick – wibbly wobbly blog)  said ‘Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should!’  I need to chill, no matter how good I feel in myself I have to listen to my hip and be nice to it rather than beast it. After all it has been sawn, chiselled, and screwed back together….. that was just over 10 weeks ago though, surely I should be able to run a marathon by now!


Home again!!

July 20, 2009

Hurrah, how nice it is to be home and in one piece if a slightly swollen one!

So I’ll start at the beginning and work my way up to this point, it’ll be a long one but hang on in there!

Monday Morn;

Woke up at 1.30am, thought it was as good a time as any to chomp my last food intake – an Eat Natural bar. Went back to sleep til the alarm went off at 5.50am for me to have my last drink then get outta bed and into hospital. My man and I trundled off from our Travelodge and walked the 10 mins to Guys. Once in there I was seen pretty quick to wee in a pot and have a blood test then change into the very lovely hospital gowns. Luckily there was a nurse in the cubicle next door because I’d only been given one gown – therefore either flashing my bum or my boobs to all and sundry! Once another gown had been retrieved and the disposable knickers had been donned I was ready for action. Only prob was although I was first on the op list, they’d moved me to the afternoon. I did warn the surgeon that no food makes me a grumpy girl, but this didn’t seem to phase him!  Time seemed to go really quickly and before I knew it they were calling my name to go to the anesthetist. So a quick snog with my man and off a toddled (not only wearing disposable knickers and a hospital gown, but also a rather fetching stocking and some hospital slippers) what a sight to behold!

Once in the anesthetist room I had an needle put in the back of my hand and one in my wrist – well it was attempted to put one in my wrist, unfortunately it would seem that my artery, which is what the fella was looking for, is quite well hidden. So eventually he gave up and said he’d sort it when I was under. The next stage (whilst being hooked up to blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation machines) was the epidural.  My hypnotherapist clearly did a fabulous job; the first attempt didn’t go too well as I kept feeling pressure in my lower back then a sharp pain in my hip, so after trying about 3 times it was decided to take it out and start again. Second time round was just dandy, a change in vertebrae was all that was needed and bob was my aunties lodger. Throughout this whole episode I felt relatively chilled about the whole thing, considering my previous panic at the mere mention of epidural this can only be testiment to the hypnotherapy and NLP techniques I had been taught.  Next came the general anesthetic, now I’ve heard many people talk about having to count down from 10, all the bloke said to me was “how are you feeling?”, I replied with “yuck that tastes gross!” and promptly fell asleep!

On waking up the first thing I felt was the needle in my neck, I’ve no idea how big it was or what it was for but it was rather uncomfortable,  they took that out pretty soon after I came to. Other than that I had an IV in the crook of my elbow feeding me fluids, a catheter, and the epidural in my back giving me painkillers.  I was lucid enough to ask if my boyfriend had been phoned, and he was waiting for me in the ward when I arrived – ahhhh lovely :0)    I generally felt pretty ok straight after the op, the odd thing was not being able to feel my legs as I was having 15ml of epidural pumped into me each hour.

Monday night;

 My boyfriend had left whilst I’d been in good spirits and drinking lots of water as encouraged by the nurses, then I was getting ready for a good night’s sleep, but to no avail. I am, it turns out, one of the many people with whom general anesthetic does not agree. I spent most of the night sipping water, then within about an hour or so throwing it back up again! This is not a good turn of events when your temperature is rising and your blood pressure is falling.  Anyway the nurses looking after me were fantastic, the events of the evening included; a leaking epidural which meant a change of bedsheets, a leaking wound which meant a change of bedsheets, not being able to keep water down, blood pressure too low, and temperature too high, and the fact that I had a leaking epidural but still couldn’t feel my legs clearly worried a few people as they decided to turn it off for a couple of hours to check everything was connected as it should be. 

Tuesday

I was keeping down water (thanks to some magic anti-sickness drug), my temperature wasn’t getting any higher, my blood pressure was creeping up and most importantly I could feel my toes!  The epidural was turned down to 8ml per hour and all was well. I was pretty much left to sleep.   My boyfriend came to  see me as did my Auntie which was fab – she caught me for just about the only hour I managed to stay awake, my poor man spent lots of time reading his book whilst listening to me snore!

Wednesday

They moved me into a room with a window that opened – funnily enough my temperature seemed to drop to a normal level then!     I was introduced to my new friend the walker;

Walker

I hobbled all the way to the door you can see in the pic, and back on wed morn whilst still being attached to the epidural, it felt brilliant, and knackering!   Later that day they removed the epidural and started me on morphine based painkillers – cue vomiting again!   I then tried the walker again in the afternoon and it was not nearly so successful, feeling a little despondent I shuffled back to be for yet another nap. My Pa and man came to visit and I was not the most entertaining patient ever it has to be said, too sleepy for words, though I did manage a game of Gin Rummy.

Thursday

Feeling more like myself again I began to read – yes really! I am an avid reader and had bought a massive two books in one volume novel, however my concentration was that poor over the first few days that I couldn’t even attempt to read it!   I had another bash on the walker and although this was fairly successful it wasn’t the triumphant voyage I’d hoped for. Most of the problem was being able to get my operated leg on and off the bed, it was at this point the OT angel delivered two of the best post op presents ever!  One is a leg lifter, it looks like a short dog lead with a loop at each end, you put your foot in one loop and use the other to lift your leg with your hand, BRILLIANT!  all the huffing and puffing and pain getting off the bed was sorted. The other tool is a grabber – absolutely indispensable when you can’t bend to pick stuff up. Just make sure you park it properly – it’s not much use when it’s fallen on the floor!  Mum and Dad came to visit and I was a little more entertaining.

Friday

Catheter out and freedom begins whoo hooo!  Feeling far more normal than ever before I was introduced to crutches and weeing all by myself!  I also managed to have a shower with the help of a nurse who put a chair in for me, and do my big unruly hair.  I had an X-ray in the morning and I have to say this is the most painful thing that happened during the week; having been propped up on pillows all week I had to lie flat. This was something my hip was not happy about, I could feel not only the incision pulling, but things in the joint and there was an almighty ‘clunk’ as something resettled itself.  Once I got up off the x-ray table all felt fine and I had a peek at my x-ray, I’ve seen lots of pics of post PAO, but it doesn’t prepare you for seeing your own hip kitted out with mammoth screws and massive gaps in your pelvis!  Hopefully on my next visit to hospital I’ll get a copy of the x-ray. In the afternoon mum and dad came to visit, we played cards, I gave and received lip, all was well with the world. I even went for a midnight hobble up the corridor I was so full of beans!

Saturday

There was some confusion as to whether I was spose to be going home or not, but after a lesson from the physio on going up and down stairs I was given the all clear. HURRAH!  Up until my departure the staff had been fab, really looking after me, but as soon as it was time to go I got shoved off with bags of drugs and that was that.  I was taken home by ‘patient transport’ aka a slightly battered ambulance with seats and what felt like naff all suspension!  The 2 and half hour journey took it’s toll on my leg and I looked a little more swollen;

elephant leg 2   It’s amazing the things that swell up! Obviously the operated leg is going to bear the brunt of the enlarging, but I also look like I’m about 4 months pregnant – not the kinda look I’m going for right now, hopefully I’ll deflate soon though!

 

Ok following is a pic of the scar – it’s pretty neat and has apparently been glued together rather than stitched or stapled.

Scar

Right enough waffle for now I’ll carry on banging on about various things now I’m home and able to access the net. Hope you’re still awake!


Still here…!

June 28, 2009

I didn’t realise how long it’d been since I’d done anything hippy related, until my mum pointed it out yesterday. So here I am waffling on again!

The last couple of months have been hectic with finishing off my course and I’ve only a week and a half to go – YIPPEE!  All being well I’ll be a qualified teacher and everything :0)

Whilst having the hectic life that revolves around school other things have taken a bit of a backseat. The biggest of these being exercise, which is definitely not a positive step.  I have managed to keep up Pilates, which is fantastic and I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone, especially if you find a great teacher who knows what alternatives to give to slightly broken people such as myself.  Anyway I’ve two sessions lined up the week before my op and as soon as I can get back to it I’m getting a couple of one to ones to get me back into doing the classes.

This weekend saw me having the first of two hypnotherapy sessions aimed at keeping me chilled about having an epidural. I’m not that bothered about needles, apart from, it seems, the one going into my spine. The last thing I want to be doing is fidgeting and twitching with nerves while the anesthetist is doing this. Anyway the first session was very positive, and anything that helps is a goer in my book!

Had a bit of a scare this week – bearing in mind the cancellation of my last op, I managed to get yet another cold! At first I thought it was hay fever, but it didn’t respond to the usual drugs and just felt like a cold.   Fortunately unlike the last 3 week lurker it seems to have dissipated, fingers crossed I’ll not be in snotsville for too much longer!

On the subject of runny noses I have a tendency for mild hay fever, but today managed to fall asleep in amongst lots of flowering clover – not the brightest choice on a warm, sunny, breezy day! DOH!   Another stupid thing that I do fairly frequently is to take out my contact lenses and then go looking for my glasses. Needless to say it takes me a lot of time stumbling about blindly to sort this particular issue out.  I really need to stop this, especially when hobbling about on crutches …. I sense tears of frustration would be the outcome and they certainly wouldn’t help me see any clearer!

I had my second Pre-op this week, it’s so long since the first one the hospital need to check I still have the same blood!  All went smoothly, the only mild trauma was getting weighed, I’m still in the ‘healthy’ category for my height, but right at the top of the scale – RUBBISH!  So much for living on rice cakes if that’s what they do for you BRING ON THE BISCUITS!  I’ve heard from a couple of people that the post op painkillers suppress your appetite as well as your pain, so I might yet be a bikini model, albeit one with one normal and one twiggy leg!

I’ve 2 weeks to go, and don’t feel half as panicked as before.  Perhaps now is just a better time mentally if not physically. Still it’s a bugger that we’ll have no summer holiday, but I intend to have as many outings as my hip can contend with. The other thing I’m looking forward to is having time to do exercise (mostly after the non-weight bearing time), it’s been ages since I had a really good heart pumping muscle aching work out – only a couple of months and I’ll have to make time if I want to get back on my feet, and I can’t wait.

Oh something else I’ve decided to aim for when both hips have been done is learn to play tennis. Not a surprise considering Wimbledon is on at the minute, but it’s something I fancy doing every summer, so next year the boy and I are hoping to get a couple of lessons then go play in the park with friends.  The last time I played tennis was at school, and I had plenty of power, but absolutely no control whatsoever!  I spent an inordinate amount of time retrieving the ball from over the fence and halfway across the hockey pitch which is where I’d managed to launch it during serving!  Hmm maybe tennis isn’t my game.

Right waffle over, better get back to planning lessons, Fractions anyone?!


It’s a glamorous life style

March 25, 2009

A crack team of action OT’s commando rolled their way in to the house this afternoon, and in a flash of  light set up all the sexy toys I’m gonna need for the forthcoming weeks of hobbling.  To be fair lumpy and grey would just about cover it.  No, not the OT’s, the stuff they left behind.   The sofa is now 4 inches higher, propped up on some grey plastic lumps, as is the bed, the loo seats are big, and yes you guessed it…. lumpy. The boy really has gotta get his aim spot on as the hole left for ablutions after all the lumpy ‘make the seat higher’ business is smaller than normal. Could be interesting after a night out on the beer!   Oh yeah and then there’s the two perching stools, they are grey and not so pretty, but I guess everything is for a practical purpose and lets face it after the op and eating too many biscuits while full of drugs I’ll be a bit lumpy and grey too!

There you have it, all set up for post hospital hobbles, no terrors to report for the last few days, though there is a lot of tiredness and grumpiness.


Terrors

March 22, 2009

Countdown is progressing, and I’m having fleeting moments of sheer panic. Which is nice.

The first this week happened when the hospital called and said the Op date might need to be moved forward a week.  Right then. My folks have taken time off work to help me through, as has my teacher boyfriend (for those of you who don’t know it’s INCREDIBLY hard to have any time of during the school term, so re-arranging could be an issue), and I’m at Uni and have been able to restructure my course to accommodate my op happening on the 30th. The new date is not looking good from where I’m hobbling. Anyway somehow things seem to be back to the original date again, but not before I’d shed tears in front of my mentor at school and begun to re-arrange my life. 

The next moment happened when I called our local OT service and asked about the home visit I’d been promised pre-op. They only had my details this week and the receptionist told me on more than one occasion that there was an 8-9 week backlog of home visits. Hmmm, with a week and a bit to go I didn’t greet this news with pleasure.   This situation has also now rectified itself… which led to the third and most intense feeling of terror.

The OT is booked in to come round this week, and during the conversation with her the word ‘commode’ was mentioned (but only in passing however it was enough to start the fear). Apparently I also need a perching stool to be able to make my own cuppa. Now I may have been naive, but I figured I’d be able to do this standing on one leg and using one crutch, but obviously not!  Well after this conversation some of the horrid realities of day to day life with a semi bionic hip hit home.  There were tears and a few little swears one of which was in response to my poor boyfriend who I rang for moral support. He’d already asked if I was ok, to which I responded yes on more than one occasion, then the third time he asked I responded, through tears. “no I’m f*****g terrified”.  Seriously, he couldn’t have seen that coming, but the boy done good and made me feel a bit more sane, as did my friend who was unfortunate enough to be in the room at the time. Poor girl.

So I wonder what lies in store this week. After a pretty dull weekend of moving furniture around so my hobbling isn’t obstructed, and a day of planning lessons I’m already tired, which doesn’t bode well for a terror free week.

Ho hum only 8 days to go…. in a week and a day I’ll be so drugged up there won’t be an ounce of stress or terror, that only comes when the drugs wear off.


Choices, choices……

March 9, 2009

What choices are these I hear you ask?, well on Saturday I ventured townwards for my last mop chop before the big op, then braved shopping for hospital stay attire. 

Currently when in ‘slob’ mode I don tracky bottoms, a big warm hoodie (yes, that nineplus one for those who know me, and no it isn’t surgically attached!), and some toastie socks.  Apparently for the joys of post op hobbles round the hospital I need a dressing gown, slippers, and a night shirt.  A dressing gown I can cope with, slippers are bearable, but a night shirt?!  Plus it would seem that when it comes to night shirts the choices are slim; I can either go for a 10 year old child look with a Disney character adorning my nightie,  try out a bit of granny chic and have a long sleeved floor length floral number, or have a slinky sexy lacy nightie that’ll leave nowt to the imagination.   So what did I do?   bought nothing, yep not a thing.  I can’t do slinky cos it’d put people of their already suspect hospital food, granny chic just isn’t my bag, and as for Disney characters – when I was 10 maybe, but not now.   So at the mo I’ll be flashing my wears through the back of a hospital gown, it’s time to call in my mum for moral support.


Pre-Op Assessment info

February 11, 2009

So I had my Pre-op on Monday morning at Guys, the whole thing took about 3 hours, but that includes about 45 mins of waiting for very busy and helpful staff to come and see me.  All the info below is specific to my surgeon and hospital, so don’t be surprised if there are differences from what you’ve heard or read before. I just tell it how I’ve been told 😮

First I had some MRSA swabs, and height, weight and blood pressure taken. Next was going through family contact info, medical history, and general health questions, followed by a blood test. (I still have the bruise!). I then saw the Orthapedic nurse, who is super lovely and patient and very knowledgeble. She went through lots of pre and post op info, and answered pretty much all of my questions.  Then I saw the OT, who made me realise just how much of our house we need to tidy so I can get around!  I have a form to fill in with measures of various bits around the house so they can make sure I have everything I need.

Here’s what I learned;

The surgery, whether just PAO or PAO and FO will take around 3 hours. I’ll have an epidural beforehand, and can ask to be slightly sedated before this if I feel really nervous – this is good news for me, as mentioned before the thought of my spine being pierced with some big arse needle, or even a tiny needle, does make me feel a bit sick and shaky.  Obviously I will also have a general anesthetic, but the use of the epidural means they don’t have to pump me so full of the general which is better all round.  After the surgery I’ll be taken to recovery and monitored before being taken to the ward.  Where possible they’ll put me in an all female ward, but if this isn’t a goer they put all the girlies together in one part of the ward and all the boys in another.

I will be staying in hospital for 5-7 days, this timescale depends on how well I can get around. When I’m up on crutches and able to get up and down stairs they’ll let me loose on the world once more!  During my time in hospital I’ll be seen by the Physio and the OT on the day of surgery provided I’m ‘with it’ enough, if not it’ll be the following day. At this point they’ll try and get me up and hopefully about a bit too.  Apparently day 3 after surgery is renowned to be the low point of the whole affair.  By this point I’ll be off the epidural and on pain meds, this change in medication and the fact that I’ll feel a bit better, but still not able to do anything and totally shattered leads to a bit of teary depression. Obviously this is not a definite, but as the warning came from the very experienced Orthopaedic nurse I’m willing to accept it as a high possibility!

I will be able to shower as soon as I can get up and about as the dressings used are waterproof.

There is likely to be nerve damage in my thigh so I’ll loose some feeling. In 95% of cases this is temporary and the feeling returns withing 6-8 weeks, however there is a possibility that this will be permanent.  During the surgery they will cut through the hip flexor muscle and the only thing I can do to help at this point is stay as mobile as poss before the op. Other than that things will repair themselves as they see fit.  Either one or both legs are likely to swell up after surgery, only if they become hot, red or inflamed should I begin to worry.

I may have to inject myself for 28 days after the surgery with anti-coagulents, this will thankfully only be once a day. Fingers crossed the new tablet version will be up and running by the time I’ve had my Op, so I can have a tablet a day instead of a needle.

I will be non weight-bearing (on crutches) for a minimum of 6 weeks, after which I will have a follow-up appointment at Guys when my new hip will be X-ray-ed. If the bone is knitting back together I’ll be allowed to bear weight on the operated side, on the other hand, if the bone is not knitting together well enough then I will have to continue non weight bearing for up to 12 weeks.  During the non weight bearing phase I will be doing naff all. No bending forwards to put socks on, no bringing my knee up, no crossing my legs – not even my ankles, no twisting, definitely no exercise unless physio specified.  I will be able to hobble my way around on crutches but have to be super careful. I can be a passenger in a car if I really have to, but this is best avoided as getting bumped in any way (even just going over a speed bump) might result in a wonky bit of bone floating around my pelvis! For the same reason I’m not allowed to use public transport.   Obviously I’ll not be able to drive until I have the all clear to try and walk, even then I need to be strong enough to be able to do an emergency stop if needed.

In terms of aids in the home I have to measure the sofa, chairs, bed and loo to see how high they are off the floor. The measurement from my foot to my knee is around 19″ when my knee is at 90 degrees, so all the furniture has to be high enough for me to keep this measurement, anything less and I’ll be putting pressure on my hip joint. I’ll be getting a very glamorous riser loo seat, some cushions to bulk up the sofa and chairs, and may need a stool in the shower so I can sit down whilst washing my hair etc..  and I will have a ‘helping hand’  or grabber so I can put my own socks on (if I can be bothered to wear any!).

I received the confirmation letter to day for my surgery date, so it looks like this is it folks, countdown is progressing.   Just a little over 6 weeks and I’ll be on the way to being bionic 😮

I’ve come to realise, through a lot of reading of other peoples blogs and medical accounts, that I am blooming lucky in the amount of activities I can do with my dysplastic hips.  Don’t get me wrong, I do have pain, soreness and hobbling in varying degrees every day, but I can still go for a walk, kick box, go spinning and lark around in the snow – knowing full well it’ll hurt tomorrow but I’ll blooming do it anyway.  Being fortunate enough to still be this active means I’m going to be really pissed off at not being able to do anything, not even put my socks on!  It’s a short term pain in the arse for a long term better quality of life and being able to go about day to day stuff without any pain in the years to come…… at least that’s what I keep telling myself!